A delegation of Knesset Members and haredi rabbis headed by Deputy Finance Minister Yitzhak Cohen (Shas)
and MK Nissim Zeev
(Shas) made a secret visit to Turkey
last week where they met with officials including members of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's
The visit received the go ahead – including an okay from the Prime Minister's Office in spite of the fact that the Foreign Ministry expressed its reservations over the trip.
The delegation included several haredi rabbis from Europe as well as Middle East
Lecturer Dr. Moti Keidar from Bar Ilan University.
The delegation was invited to Turkey by local interfaith organizations. The Israeli
embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul accompanied Deputy Minister Cohen and even advised him that he should not attend a few of the meetings.
The delegation met with parliament members from various political parties in hotels in Ankara and Istanbul.
Issues discussed during the meetings included ways to end the diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Israel. The Israeli delegation reiterated Israel's stance that it would not apologize for the Marmara
incident but that it would be willing to express condolences and pay compensation to the families.